Psychologist uses virtual reality to treat panic syndrome

A report this year from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that over 15% of the Brazilian population suffers from some type of disorder. Of this percentage, 9.3% suffer from anxiety, which is responsible for triggering panic syndrome.

Psychologist Nataly Martinelli explains some of the characteristics of the people who are affected by this problem. “This syndrome is characterized by the presence of severe anxious manifestations, which are not triggered solely by exposure to a particular situation, but unpredictably. Depressive or obsessive symptoms, as well as phobias, may be associated in this context. These people prove to be anxious, perfectionistic, demanding of themselves, and they felt unprotected at some point in their lives, ”says Nataly.

Panic syndrome usually presents with sudden onset, with intense anxiety and a feeling of impending death, accompanied by palpitations, dizziness, cold and / or hot flashes, chest pain, sweating, tremors, feeling faint, intense fear of dying. and losing control.

A man sitting on a bench.

Depression May Trigger Panic Syndrome

Conventional treatment

After the diagnosis of the disorder occurs by a medical professional, preferably a psychiatrist, the treatment may be medicated. In this case, there is the possibility of using anxiolytic drugs to reduce anxiety and also antidepressants. It is recommended that the treatment be associated with some type of psychotherapy, in order to reduce the percentage of relapses over time and allowing the patient to administer the symptoms related to this pathology.

“Patients end up seeking help when symptoms become repetitive, that is, they occur more than once within a month or when they manifest seizure-related behavioral changes, ” Nataly warns. For treatment to be effective, it is of paramount importance that the patient is engaged and willing to deal with their internal issues responsibly.

In psychological counseling, the patient will have the opportunity to develop a self-knowledge process and to perform breathing and relaxation exercises. As scientist and physician Jon Kabat-Zinn postulates, "Not knowing our own body and mind is one of the reasons why people suffer and become ill."


Psychotherapeutic follow-up is key to overcoming panic syndrome

Virtual reality

“One of the methods that has been shown to be effective in reducing and managing anxiety reactions is through virtual reality. The purpose of using this technology, which is applied through the use of glasses, is to reproduce the sensations of reality for the individual and thus capture the sensations he experiences, ”explains Nataly.

The psychologist specializes in treating the syndrome with virtual reality and explains that it is possible to work on issues such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and even the meditation technique known as mindfulness, which is when we prepare the body for as much attention as possible. “These practices increase body awareness and also balance the body by normalizing heart rate, ” explains Nataly.

Nataly Martinelli

Nataly Martinelli uses virtual reality in psychology

* Via advisory